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Leif Ericson Park volunteers to branch out for Earth Day

Parent Child Relationship, the Asian-American volunteer group heralded by city officials for its work in cleaning up Leif Ericson Park in Dyker Heights and returning it to its former glory as a bucolic haven for city dwellers, is branching out.

The organization ventured outside of the park to conduct a litter removal project on nearby Eighth Avenue in celebration of Earth Day on Monday, April 22 that drew 100 participants, including 40 high school students, as well as City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca and Assemblymember Peter Abbate.

Two days earlier, on April 20, members of Parent Child Relationship spent part of the day at a food pantry in downtown Brooklyn to assist hungry families and to provide translation services if needed.

The group is also going to sponsor a cleanup of Leif Ericson Park on Sunday, April 28 as part of It’s My Park Day, a citywide happening in which the New York City Parks Department works with grass-roots organizations to conduct cleanups and other activities in parks around the five boroughs.

Leif Ericson Park runs from Fourth Avenue to Fort Hamilton Parkway, between 66th and 67th streets. The It’s My Park Day cleanup will take place in the section of the park at Ninth Avenue and 67th Street.

The various activities are coming on the heels of Parent Child Relationship’s highly successful Third Annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 14. “We had 3,000 people in the park. It was a fun day,” Iris Ng, one of the founders of Parent Child Relationship, told this newspaper.

The group’s Earth Day project was inspired by a desire for cleaner sidewalks, according to Ng. “There is a lot of litter,” she said. “We wondered why there are no trash cans on Eighth Avenue. We talked to someone in Councilman (Carlos) Menchaca’s office and we found out that they were taken away.”

The city removed litter baskets from a section of Eighth Avenue because local residents habitually dumped their household trash in the receptacles in violation of the city’s sanitation code, Ng said.

The idea of the sidewalk cleanup was to raise awareness of the importance of protecting the environment, Ng said.

Since its formation in 2016, PC Relationship has steadily won respect and admiration for its efforts to turn Leif Ericson Park into a welcoming space for families and senior citizens. In addition to Ng, the group’s leaders are Nicole Xueqin Huang, Yong Feng Zhu, Yan Feng Zheng and Yunqian Lin.

In recognition of its work, PC Relationship won the Golden Trowel Award at the Sixth Annual It’s My Park Awards in Manhattan on March 27. The awards are sponsored by Partnership for Parks, a public-private partnership between the City Parks Foundation and the Parks Department that provides assistance to volunteer groups working to improve parks.

City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver was among the officials who congratulated PC Relationship leaders at the awards ceremony.

Ng explained the group’s unusual-sounding name.

“We wanted to start the group because we believe cleaning a park can deepen the connection between parents and their children,” she told this newspaper.

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